Yu-Yu Hakusho has everything I could ask for in an action anime. A great premise, great characters that grow into unforgettable characters, epic clashes between fierce enemies, and a plot that carries a lot of weight. I praise the storytelling and cleverness. I wish more action anime was like this. Yu-Yu Hakusho was great on every level and there were many signature moments. When Yusuke first used his spirit gun or when Yusuke and Keiko kissed during the finale those moments left me feeling amazed. There were many times that Yu-Yu-Hakusho left me truly satisfied. Everything in Yu-Yu-Hakusho came full circle and I loved it.

I’ll start by saying, Yusuke dies in the first episode and that was instantly shocking. But, in the moments before his death he was entertaining a young boy. Perhaps Yusuke saw a bit of himself in the young boy or he was trying to be a nice guy. Nevertheless, the young boy continues to play and his ball bounces into traffic. Yusuke sees this and in an noble act Yusuke pushes the boy out of the way. The boy gets his ball back and gets minor bumps and bruises. But, Yusuke gets full on, hit by a car, (Damn inattentive drivers!) and dies.

I won’t recap the rest of the tale and how Yusuke comes back to life, but becoming a spirit detective opened a whole new world for Yusuke. I liked how rival and friend Kuwabara forces himself into the action discovering his spirit sword in the process. The change of Hiei and Kurama’s allegiance was compelling and they grew to become valuable allies and good friends. Genkai was wise, but took no non-sense from anyone, especially Yusuke. Yusuke was Genkai’s greatest student and she was more of a mother to him than Yusuke’s actual birthmother.

I like how both Yusuke and Kuwabara were both troubled students. They were rebels and found their place fighting against demons. Hiei and Kurama had come together because of circumstances that made them have to steal ancient artifacts. Hiei had his sister he needed to attend to, but he was forced to stay away. He was a curse child and she was pure as snow. Kurama was reborn into a more gentler human, but in his previous life he was a master thief and a ruthless demon known as Yoko Kurama. My point in going over some facts about our main characters was to show that they each had to overcome themselves and their past circumstances. When they came together to form a team they each brought their own struggles. I appreciate how they stood together and that was how they became great men.

The Dark Tournament and Toguro Brothers

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In the Dark Tournament these brothers ruled with an iron fist.

Younger Toguro was a beast incarnate (Is the Brock Lesnar reference working for ya?) and Elder Toguro killed birds for fun and was a twisted little demon man. Look, these guys won the Dark Tournament before and guess what? For extra character development Younger Toguro’s other teammate in the past was Genkai. Yep, Genkai and Younger Toguro were a couple back in the day. But, Toguro’s lust for power tore their relationship apart.

The Dark Tournament was an amazing high stakes saga and these two had a team built to dominate. I’ll give Bui and Karasu credit for just looking intimidating and their powers really defined their characters. Sure, Bui looked like Shredder, and Karasu was a pretty boy ninja looking guy, but I didn’t care about their cliché appearance. They were freaking powerful in very unique ways. Bui was like a destructive force and his armor was meant to withhold all of his power. While Karasu was seductive and deceptive in his strength, because he used hidden bombs and had the ability to absorb energy.

Yu-Yu-Hakusho during the Dark Tournament was glorious and every battle brought some sort of tension. There was darkness in every opposing team. I praise the back story of the Ichigaki warriors as they were manipulated and turned evil, by the ugly demon doctor. When Ichigaki finally got what he deserved I was like that’s how you build a saga!

Sure it had a predictable final when you think about it. We all knew Team Toguro was going to face Team Urameshi in the final. But, how they got there was amazing. When Team Toguro and Team Urameshi faced off there were many twists and turns for each battle.

Some highlights of the Tournament:

Hiei unleashes The Dragon of The Darkness Flame and obliterated Zeru.

Kuwabara carried the team on his back and defeated Risho, (The Master of Earth.)

Yusuke’s battle with Jin was a back and forth duel with great pacing.

Matter of fact, who can forget the Knife Edge Death Match where Yusuke and Cho were bare knuckle fighting and throwing vicious head butts.

I will never forget when Yoko Kurama returned and made that fisherman guy suffer.

I’m sure there are more moments you guys can think of…

But, the point is Yu-Yu-Hakusho quite possibly had the greatest tournament in anime history.

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Hiei unleashing the Dragon of The Darkness Flame.

Sensui and Chapter Black
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The Dark Spirit Detective or Fallen Detective Sensui. I’m sure when you heard his back story you were excited about The Chapter Black Saga. (I was too!) But, damn things went slow and Team Sensui really didn’t live up to the hype. Sure the soundtrack here was eerie and that really made me love the Sensui character, but his minions were pretty lackluster. The doctor was bland and Gamemater was annoying. I liked Seaman and how he targeted Kuwabara, but he turned babyface. Sniper was a man of action and had few words… but then he just went on his own? Gourmet wasn’t cool until the Elder Toguro twist.

Okay so, Itsuki was gay in my humble opinion, but you know what? His loyalty to Sensui was cool and I didn’t mind the Yaoi moments between him and Sensui. Itsuki was the gatekeeper. His role on the team was to open the portal to the demon world and unleash hell on Earth. Pretty standard stuff.

So, my point is Sensui’s team was gimmicky and when comparing them to the characters in the Dark Tournament they come up short.

But, Sensui himself and how he wanted to reveal how evil humanity is trumps all..OMG! The man has multiple personalities. That right there makes up for the lackluster minions. The fight between him and Yusuke was as much as a psychological bout than an actual physical one.

I won’t spoil anymore here and I’ll briefly say that the Three Kings Demon World Tournament Saga was interesting. For some reason the final saga was rushed and felt all over the place. The battles weren’t as memorable. I think the final saga displayed how there is no escaping your past. Sounds cool in theory, but the execution could have been better.

Overall, I really was disappointed at the conclusion of the Three Kings Demon World Tournament Saga.

Amazing Send Off

Yu-Yu-Hakusho’s final episode gave us an amazing send off. It almost felt like a heart to heart apology for stumbling near the end. Then Yu-Yu-Hakusho gloriously crosses the finish line. There is no stone left unturned and everything comes to a soothing resolution.

Yusuke and Keiko forever!
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Only Yusuke can get away with having his eyes open…

My reflection ends here, but let me know what you guys think and stay tune for more.

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